Their last words..!

THE New York Times interviewed Art Buchwald just before he passed away. The interview was called, “The Last Word” in which the interviewed person is allowed to express his own obituary. I watched with a smile as the grinning face of Art came on my screen and he shouted, “Hi! I just died!” Like Art there have been many other wits who decided to leave the world, not with weeping faces, but with chuckles and smiles as they breathed their last. This, many did with their last words: To the end Somerset Maughans’ wit never altogether left him. “Dying,” he remarked to his nephew Robin, “Is a very dull, dreary affair.” Suddenly he smiled and added, “my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it!”
Oscar Wilde’s life in exile hadn’t prepared the playwright for his last days in a Parisan hotel. The manager saw to it that he had the finest suite, the best champagne and the tastiest food. Calling the manager just before he breathed his last Wilde whispered with a grateful tired smile, “I’m dying beyond my means!”
And oh yes, some writers do die with their boots on: HeinrichHeine whose best known song is ‘Die Lorelei’ was an avid writer. His last words as he looked around were, “Write, write, pencil, pencil!” The irrepressible Irish author, Brendon Behan, was apparently in a coma when an attentive and caring nun bent over him to smooth his pillow. Brendon opened one dark mischievous eye and whispered into her ear, “Thank you sister, and may all your sons be bishops!”
Lyton Strachey, the English biographer and critic who wrote ‘Eminent Victorians’ and ‘Queen Victoria’ lay dying of stomach cancer and said gruffly to all around, “If this is dying, I don’t think much of it!” When H.G Wells was on his deathbed, his friends and relatives couldn’t believe the great man was going and stood around him, crying and making quite a loud commotion. The great writer finally turned his head to his grief stricken visitors and whispered, “Can’t you see I’m busy dying?”
What I like about all these great writers including Art Buchwald was that they were not afraid of what was going to happen to them and were prepared to go to the great beyond, even the great Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovski who killed himself wrote in his suicide note, quite tongue in check I must say, “I don’t recommend this for others!”
They died these great men after contributing so much to the world with their ideas and thoughts and even if we’ve not had the time or inclination to have read their works, let us at least when our time comes face death with the same equanimity and courage they all displayed.
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